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Success Stories: Laurel Helber

Department of Public Utilities - Power & Water

Office Assistant II

Laurel H

I celebrated my 66th birthday by walking the 2015 Columbus Marathon. I was striving to achieve a personal record and decided not to socialize with anyone on the course. However, I stopped on the 22nd mile to help a 77 year old man walk to the finish line. I saw him limping and asked him if he was ok and he said ‘no’ and I asked him if he wanted me to walk in with in.  He said ‘yes’ and I put my arm around him and we walked in together to the finish line.  Each time I took my arm off his shoulder he would fall aside. 

After I finished the marathon, I saw George the 77 year old , and his kids thanked me for helping their father.  Then a marathoner came up to me and said when he saw what I did, it inspired him to not quit the marathon and he kept watching my red shirt.  He told me I was the only reason he finished the marathon and gave me a hug and was in tears.  It was his first marathon and when we saw the pictures realized he had a prosthesis.  This man said he was going to quit at the 20th mile because he was hurting so bad.  

My daughter got on Face Book and shared with her friends, ‘My mom knows the real meaning in life.  She was a race walker and was going to make a record time on her 21stmile and stopped to help a stranger on her 22nd mile.’  I finished the marathon but even though I still came in at 6:11, the meaning of the marathon completely changed.  For a week I was almost in tears over the emotional side of it.

Then in December I received a plaque from the Columbus Marathon team and I was the first place in the competitive walked for age 60 – 69.  This was my most meaningful marathon or walk I have ever done.  Being first is not what it is all about.  The plaque was the icing on the cake.